Hi all! I’m Andi from Andi’s ABCs. I started Andi’s ABCs in January of 2013 as a way to share my love of accessories, books and clothes. Since then my main focus has been on books, mostly Young Adult but some New Adult, Romance and Adult mixed in, but I do share my love of accessories and clothes and my new card making obsession on the regular. And I offer guest opportunities for readers, authors, publicists and bloggers to do the same with my weekly feature The ABCs.
Anyway, I was super excited when I was contacted by Riveted to guest post and interview the wonderful Suzanne Young. Suzanne’s newest book, All in Pieces, is by far one of my favorite contemporary reads of 2016! There was something so magical about the story and Suzanne’s writing. The book just felt so honest and had raw emotion. It showed the reality of people that live hard lives and make hard decisions way before they should have to. The thing about All in Pieces is it was real. I never once felt like I was reading a story. I felt like I was in the story and that is something that rarely happens. I strongly feel this is a book everyone should read.
Now, on to the Q&A!
Suzanne! All in Pieces is so fantastically fantastic! It is pretty different than your series The Program (which I also love). Where did the idea to tell this story come from?
I wrote it shortly after my grandmother passed away, and I was emotionally devastated. As I was grieving, I thought a lot about where and how I grew up. I started writing All in Pieces, thinking about kids in low-income areas, thinking about those who society turned their backs on. I poured all of my grief, heartache, history, and most importantly—my gram’s fierce love—into this story.
I have seen you say many times that All in Pieces has been 10 years in the making. What was it like to work on one book for so long?
Well, I wrote the first draft of this book (which is pretty different from the finished version) in about 2006-2007. It was a short fast draft, but I became obsessed with the characters. I worked on it for about six months and sold it soon after. But… then I changed publishers and we got the rights back to it. After that, I worked on it on and off, sharing with editors, but never finding the right home.
Then I randomly mentioned the book to my editor, and told her it was the truest thing I’d ever written and she asked to read it. She emailed to tell me that she loved it and that she felt the book to her core. All in Pieces finally found the right home
For a small book (under 300 pages) you pack a ton of feeling and emotion onto the pages. So much in fact as a reader you forget you are reading. What was that like for you? Did it put a toll on your emotions?
Like I mentioned, my grandmother died shortly before I wrote this book. I think I sobbed a good 75% of the time, and laughed the other 25%. It’s so real and emotional—I couldn’t have accomplished that if I hadn’t actually felt it and soaked my keyboard with tears.
Let’s talk about Savannah for a minute. That girl broke my heart. She was trying so hard and it just never felt like it was enough. Where did your motivations come from to give your readers a character like Savannah that was broken yet strong?
A little bit from myself, how I grew up. Also from a person I greatly admired. But the character came together and I think my favorite part about her is that she is so hard, so tough—but when it comes to Evan or her friends, she is loyal and loving. I like how fiercely she loves and protects them.
Savannah also deals with some pretty serious stuff concerning her ex-boyfriend. It was a truly important part of the story and I admit it was hard to read. Was that tough for you, as an author (and mother) to write?
Yeah, it really was. I think so many of us have experienced that feeling of being powerless, of violation. It wasn’t hard to tap into the emotion, but it sure was hard to stay there. It brought up a lot of bitter resentment. But in the end, it wasn’t Patrick’s story. I wanted to get Savannah to a better place.
And Cameron. Sweet, adorable Cameron. He was the perfect person to come into Savvy’s life just when she needed it. Why was he so important for you to have in your story and for Savvy?
I liked that he didn’t give up on her. So many other people had, including some of her family members. He also didn’t pressure her—only proved that he’d be there. She didn’t need Cameron, that’s not what he’s about. But when she was able, she let herself care about him and was able to have a loyal, trusting relationship with him.
What is the one thing you want everyone to know about All in Pieces?
I know that All in Pieces is not everyone’s story, but it is a story that’s important to me. It’s very real, very authentic. The friends in All in Pieces become each other’s family. And I thought that was an important story to tell.
Lastly, when I interview authors on my blog I always ask the same final question. What is the one item of clothing you could never live without?
Ooo…. I love this fuzzy, multi-colored sweater I have. Although I don’t get to wear it too much since I live in Arizona